In rural Thailand, most people live on something like $6.00 per day – sometimes even less. In the province of Kalasin where the Life Training project is located, most of the people we are working with do not own a car, many do not even own a reliable motorbike. They probably own a TV, but not a DVD player, or a computer. What these rural rice farmers need most is to know God’s love, and to know that Jesus gave His life for them. But, if the only help we can offer them is spiritual, and we take no interest in their daily struggle to survive, why would they want to trust a God that does not seem care for them any more than the gods they are already serving?
So, it is important to care for the physical needs as well as the spiritual, and we want to do both well! The Life Training project has been working to develop practical solutions to help people be more self sustaining. One of the solutions that has been a huge success is to install small fish ponds at people’s homes. By using sand bags and black plastic, a simple “pond” can be constructed and filled with catfish. A three by six foot pond will can grow 200 catfish. In about four months, the fish can be sold or eaten by people in the village.
At one village where a group of about 15 kids meeting weekly for Bible study, the kids asked if they could have their own fish pond to help them pay for school fees (even public education in Thailand is not completely free and the costs can be quite a burden to the families). So, Peter Capon and the team installed a larger tank that is stocked with 1,500 catfish. When sold, they should make about $500 profit every four months, which is a healthy chunk of change for these kids. The best part of all is that the kids are doing all the work to raise and take care of the fish! This is such a great model of how we can care for the whole person – meeting needs at many levels!